Looking Back

New history book on Carroll County features many photos, untold stories

Author McLaughlin collects photos
from community for project

CARROLLTON, Ky. (March 2013) – Having worked in the newspaper business for many years, Phyllis Codling McLaughlin would often come across many vintage photographs that depicted years of history and generations of families whose roots run deep in Carroll County. This gave her the idea to organize a book about the county, one of which she hopes many people will be proud.

Book Cover

After spending seven years as editor of the Carrollton News Democrat and two years as editor of the Trimble Banner Democrat, McLaughlin definitely had experience as a writer. She decided to work part-time to devote her full attention to putting together a pictorial history of Carroll County.
McLaughlin still works part time for the News Democrat. She approached editor Jeff Moore with the idea of writing a column to encourage people who had photos they could share for her project to contact her.
Once a week at the Carroll County Public Library, McLaughlin said she set up her scanner and computer so that “people could come by with their photos, and the photos never left their hands.” Numerous sources, such as the local historical society and library, aided in providing photographs. News of the book spread by word of mouth. She also searched the newspaper archives for unique pictures to incorporate into the book.
Originally born in a suburb of Washington, D.C., McLaughlin moved to Ohio when she was 4 years old. “In my journalistic career, I’ve lived in many different places,” she said. When searching for a job, she discovered Carroll County, and “I fell in love with the area.”

Phyllis McLaughlin

McLaughlin, 50, said there is “a lot of rich history in Carroll County.” She believes that for a county that has existed for more than 200 years, there is a lot of history that people living there may not know. In 1838, Carroll County was created from parts of Gallatin and Trimble counties.
“Images of America: Carroll County” is a 127-page book containing more than 200 photographs. McLaughlin said, “There’s so much history in this county; anybody interested in history or nostalgia will love it.”
McLaughlin is planning a book signing from 6-7 p.m. Friday, March 1, at the Carroll County Public Library, 136 Court St. She plans another signing at Village Lights Bookstore in Madison, Ind. from 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, March 30. Copies of the book will be for sale at each event.
“Anyone with ties to Carroll County will enjoy this book,” said Sandy Shalton, Sales and Marketing Specialist for Arcadia Publishing, which published the book.
“It is Arcadia’s goal to publish anywhere across the country where there is an interest in local history, specifically small towns and downtowns,” said Shalton. “Carroll County definitely fits into everything we hope for in our “Images of America” series.”
The company has published more than 8,000 titles throughout the country, all focusing on history. The company in 2006 published a history book about Madison, Ind., which was authored by Ron Grimes, archivist at the Jefferson County Historical Society Research Library, and co-author Jane Ammeson. In 2011, local author Marty Lenzini Murray wrote a similar history book on Hanover, Ind., that was published by Arcadia.
Not born in the county, McLaughlin considers herself to be an outsider. “I loved the pictures on my own level, and I’m not from here.”
Anyone who reads the book who is from the county will be reminded of things from the past, she says. McLaughlin said she hopes people who see it for the first time will “appreciate it and keep it to look back on.”
She said, “It’s been a labor of love to write. People have given me the gift of their pictures. Now I hope I can give them back a gift in the form of this book. I hope they enjoy it. It’s their history and their heritage.”
The book contains various photographs and information about the county, including its history as a producer of bourbon whiskey and burley tobacco. In the late 1800s, Carroll County had many sulfur springs and huge resorts, attracting lots of visitors.
“Ghent was a fairly large town, as was Worthville,” McLaughlin said. “In the beginning, Prestonville was a big town, and Carrollton wasn’t.”
Distilleries eventually went out of business and floods played a part in reversing this role. Carrollton was laid out on higher ground and therefore began to develop better.
McLaughlin said she is “so thankful for the pictures people have provided. They have opened up and shared their personal histories and private collections.” The pictures are “crucial to the book’s success.”
She is very much into researching her own family history, especially after discovering and reading letters written by her great-grandfather, who served in the Civil War. She recently became editor of an electronic newsletter for professional genealogists. This is a direction McLaughlin hopes to “move into as a profession in the future.”
For now she hopes “Images of America: Carroll County” will give residents “a look back at their history.”

• “Images of America: Carroll County” is available for $21.99 at local retailers, online bookstores or through Arcadia Publishing at www.ArcadiaPublishing.com or by calling 1-888-313-2665.


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